And bossing me around a bit as well…
I’ve been busy of late helping Mrs. Woodshedder with her home business. I know what you are thinking…It is not the usual “home business” many wives seem to gravitate towards like the Pampered Chef and Thirty-One, where they drive all over Hell’s half-acre to make direct sales and bring back 20%, minus gas, time, and whatever shit they decide to buy with their meager cut. This is one that she has built herself, from the ground up.
Rabid iBC fans and the subset thereof that read my blog may remember this post from almost a year ago: Real Men Know How to Sew. Mrs. Woodshedder has made that commercial/industrial model her bitch and has leveraged its capability so that it has returned many times her initial investment. The only downside is that I’ve become a part-time sewing machine tech/repairman.
And now the business has grown so much that she will likely quit her part-time job in January so that she can run her home business full-time. And if it keeps growing like it has over the past couple of years, I do not believe it will be confined to the home for much longer. This month she has sold more than ever before.
So I’ve spent the past week helping her make this thing legitimate, meeting with accountants, finalizing the business entity, exploring small business loans, and researching new, hi-tech machines to purchase before year-end. Then hurricane Sandy came through and I spent a couple of days procuring a generator and supplies so that she could continue running the business even if we lost power for a few days.
There is definitely a sublime sense of satisfaction that is derived from building one’s own business from the ground up, but there is also a steep learning curve. The learning curve may not be what most imagine, such as learning how to sew, or identifying fashion trends, or using blogs and the interwebs to build the business. The most challenging part for Mrs. Woodshedder has not been the stress and the 70-80 hour weeks from building the business as much as it has been learning how to navigate the various taxes and fees. While she has always paid attention to politics, she has been engaged like never before in the upcoming election because she has realized the amount that government costs small businesses like her own.
With most of these details about wrapped up, she should be ready to take this thing to the next level…I’m hoping that means less involvement for yours truly. The new machines she is researching are more hi-tech and less sweat-shop than her last investment. For me that means fewer hours in the sweat-shop as repairman and more hours spent blogging and researching. Perhaps she’ll start giving me evenings off again. I hope so as it is about time to wipe the dust off this blog and get back at it…
21 Responses to She Built This: Becoming Her Own Boss
Don’t count on it pal. That damn fabric don’t cut itself..now wipe that freakin BBQ off your chin and git back upstairs…PRONTO!
Congrats to Mrs. Woodeshedder and commend you on the support. I have pure respect for anyone that starts their own business as it is hard and not an easy or comforting task. I wish the Mrs, yourself, and family the best.
Please come back Woody, we need you !!!
Hey that’s fantastic. I’m happy for the both of you.
Congrats! Hard work and dedication pay off…so long as you can navigate tax laws and the politicians minimize their interference.
Oh man, that is awesome. Here’s to your continued success. Keep us posted with how things progress.
Love a cinderella success story.
Congrats and well done.
I bought a few scarves last year. My girl loves them.
Pick one up folks.
Not for nothin, but if you’d take a little advice from someone who’s seen a couple of these things in his day…
Dump the do-it-yourself model. Outsource all fabrication, stick to design, marketing and logistics. The computer (and it’s internet connection) are your greatest tool. Using it, you can interact directly with your customer, who should be both direct retail end-users and smaller specialty dealers (you should build a tight network there). Put a suggestion piece on your site… make sure Mrs. Woody is talking a lot with the customer base. Make her a minor-celeb. Put a youtube up about how you make the stuff, where your ideas come from, your kids, whatever. Ask for comments. Soon people will start walking into specialty dealers saying “Why the fuck do you not have Mrs. Woodshedders’ shit in this hizzy?” BUILD YOUR BRAND
The cycle will continue. But one thing that will not fit is making that shit yourselves. You need quality suppliers who can scale for you. Talk to UPS or FedEx about the logistics. Delivery on time and quickly is huge.
Sage advice from Mr Gint!
and put out some press releases and articles on article directories and see if they can get picked up
tell me more… why do I want to put my name on a shitty chinese product? I’ve checked into outsourcing locally and Bah! I can do it cheaper myself! I’m open to hearing about it (even thought it doesn’t sound like it)…I think a blog prescence is necessary – I’m missing the boat there and outsourcing the production would definately free me up a little bit..or I could just poach woodshedder I think branding is the next step…I talk my customer’s ears off! I like the minor celeb idea – I could use a crown and septer…:-)
Jake has it right. We use subcontractors for our business, we still do too much in house, but wholesale/retail is the ticket. Small wholesale tradeshows, think seasonal shops that sell to vacationers. The #1 thing people do on vacation is shop. Best of luck to you and your wife.
LIke it or hate it – here’s an interesting blog post about the “handmade” philosophy. I agree with some point, not with others – but it does a decent job of explaining what my demographic specifically wants. They want to feel special
pssst. She couldn’t have done it without Obama and the Federal government you damn ingrates
One thing is always that one of the most popular incentives for applying your credit cards is a cash-back or maybe rebate provision. Generally, you’ll have access to 1-5% back in various purchases. Depending on the credit card, you may get 1% returning on most acquisitions, and 5% back again on buying made on convenience stores, filling stations, grocery stores and ‘member merchants’.
Damn, guess I’d better drag out the Pfaff walking-foot rig we keep in a closet somewhere, and learn how to run it. Never even figured out how to thread the bobbin last time I tried. That thing is more complicated than C#!
Thanks for the well-wishes and comments. They are really appreciated.
Learning how to scale this enterprise into something much larger is what we will be focusing on over the next year.
Her customers only want to buy American, and they want to buy from an American that they feel like they know. That makes outsourcing a good bit harder.
She does an excellent job on branding and maintaining her customers as well as using the web and blogs. We/she will be adding her own blog in the near future. For now it is twitter and FB.
I’m told the trick to growth is to rub elbows with the right people, pretend you care about helping the misfortunate, and especially offer lucrative kickbacks.
Mob affiliations can’t hurt either…
But I mean, that’s just what they teach in Detroit business school
Nice, Wood! Congrats!